Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

Second fast radio burst detected in space

FRB Origin Radio Signals From A Galaxy Light Years Away Have Been Reported
Sandra Phillips | 14 January, 2019, 04:59

For the second time in history, astronomers have detected a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) originating from outside the Milky Way.

"Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it's interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce", said CHIME team member Dr. Arun Naidu, a researcher at McGill University.

Stairs said that with CHIME, "mapping the entire northern hemisphere every day, we're bound to find more repeaters over time".

The results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a interferometric radio telescope located in British Colombia, were unveiled at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington on Monday.

The repeating FRB was one of a total of 13 bursts detected over a period of just three weeks during the summer of 2018.

Professor Avi Loeb, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the United States, has previously said that FRBs could potentally be evidence of advanced alien technology.

Another clue is that of the 13 FRBs detected by CHIME, the majority of them showed signs of scattering, which is caused by the "different rays of light from the fast radio burst taking a slightly different path because of some material in-between the fast radio burst and the telescope", Pleunis said.

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In October researchers used a radio telescope in Australia to almost double the number of known fast radio bursts. Though researchers have been able to track down the area of origin for at least one FRB, it's usually hard to study one.

Over time, Stairs says researchers will hopefully be able to develop a "clearer picture" that could lead to figuring out what exactly is producing these radio waves.

But this is only the second one that has been found to repeat. There has been speculation that FRBs may be the remnants of distant supernovas, or radiation spewed out by supermassive black holes. What's more the lowest radio frequency recorded previously was 700 Mhz. Although the source of the object is still unknown, Loeb was one of the scientists suggesting that it was probably an alien probe falling off from the galaxy after completing its mission. The discovery was made using the CHIME Telescope in British Columbia.

"The fact that the bursts are repeated rules out any cataclysmic models in which the source is destroyed while generating the burst", he added.

The Canadian telescope also detected the lowest frequency FRB seen so far. Since then, scientists have detected more than 60 bursts, with only one - recorded in 2012 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico - being a repeater.

"We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater".

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